Rachel Miller of Kenmore Hospitalized After Falling Through The Substation Roof Of The Buffalo Central Terminal While Ghost Hunting
BUFFALO, NEW YORK (August 30, 2021) – A woman identified as Rachel Miller was injured in an accident at the Buffalo Central Terminal railroad station after falling through a substation roof.
New York police officials are saying that they first got a call about the accident around 10:30 p.m. on Saturday. Rachel Miller and her friend Eric Hoeflich wanted to have a fun night ghost hunting at the Central Terminal.
There are well known rumors about the Central Terminal being haunted. Rachel Miller was walking along a substation roof when she fell 15 to 20 feet to the ground below.
Eric Hoeflich turned around and all he could hear was screaming coming from below. Firefighters and paramedics were called to the scene of the accident in order to help the victim.
Rachel Miller was taken to the hospital with major injuries including a broken shoulder blade, four broken ribs and a punctured lung. She told reporters that she does not want to see other people make her mistake. It’s best to stay out of the Central Terminal unless given permission to be there.
Liability In Fall Accidents Involving Trespassers At The Buffalo Central Terminal
Falls are one of the leading causes of injury for construction workers. But falls can happen in any context in and out of work. This is especially true with respect to roofs. According to the World Health Organization an estimated 684,000 people are killed in fall accidents every year. Another 37.3 million people require medical attention after a fall. There are a number of factors that could potentially contribute to a fall including:
- Uneven surfaces
- Wet surfaces
- Dry rot
- Damaged roofing
Property owners in New York have a legal obligation to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition. This includes doing periodic maintenance on the property and removing active hazards. When a property owner knew or should have known about a dangerous condition on a property and failed to act they could be held liable in the event of an accident. Unlike many other states, New York law doesn’t distinguish between invitees, licensees and trespassers in determining duty of care.
Many people continue to assume that New York property owners do not owe trespassers a duty of care. But this is actually not the case. In Basso v Miller the NY court of appeals abandoned the standard the differentiates between invitees, licensees and trespassers. Instead, courts will look towards the foreseeability of a visitor (including trespassers) on a property in measuring an owners duty of care.
Under New York law, a person or entity “in control” of any property has a legal obligation “to use reasonable care to keep the premises in a reasonably safe condition for the protection of all persons whose presence is reasonably foreseeable.” There are plenty of ways that the presence of trespassers could be reasonably foreseeable. For example, if a property owner sees trespassers on their property or sees evidence of their presence, like trash, this could make the presence of additional trespassers reasonably foreseeable. There are many ways that a property owner could potentially be liable for an accident on their property:
- Property owners could know that a roof was unstable and that trespassers frequented that roof.
- Property owners could have failed to warn trespassers about a dangerous roof or platform on their property.
Trespassers that are injured at the Buffalo Central Terminal may have a valid personal injury claim. But it will depend entirely on the specific facts of any case. Victims may be able to seek justice through a bodily injury claim. Damages can help cover lost wages, medical bills and pain and suffering. It is important that evidence and medical records are properly preserved after an accident. A premises liability attorney can examine all of the facts of your case free of cost and let you know what your legal options are.
Investigating A Fall Accident At The Buffalo Central Terminal
We at Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. extend our best wishes to Rachel Miller as she continues to recover from her injuries. We strongly encourage everyone to take her advice and stay away from the Buffalo Central Terminal. But at the same time more should be done to protect people who frequent that property.
There are a number of questions that need to be answered after this accident. Were there warning signs about the condition of this roof? Have there been similar incidents? It is our sincere hope that city officials will look into measures to help prevent additional people from being injured at this location.